With a clear, comprehensive implementation plan, you can minimize downtime and disruptions while you move your data and applications to the cloud.
Let’s walk through the 5 W’s + How.
No, this isn’t an intro to journalism course. Instead, we’ll use this formula to break down your options for finding the best IT outsourcing firm to help you move your health care practice to the cloud.
What Should You Be Looking For?
Clouds are private, public or a hybrid of the two. These labels can be confusing. Public clouds aren’t open to the public and private ones serve as remote data centers for a single health care provider.
To decide the best cloud for your organization, determine what you’re actually looking for. Choose from a service that supplies platform, infrastructure or software as a service — PaaS, IaaS or SaaS. Relevant considerations include company size, HIPAA impact and what you wish to accomplish.
Amazon Web Services, who developed these services first, has aggressive pricing and releases new features regularly. Their main service is IaaS.
CDW Cloud Solutions, familiar to many healthcare organization, offers a variety of services, such as migration planning and project support.
IBM Cloud, ClearDATA, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and VMWare receive honorable mention.
It’s best to look into several services to determine the best one for your IT needs.
When Is it Time to Switch to the Cloud?
Most companies have some kind of cloud-based functionality already. For those still deciding whether to switch, the following questions can help clarify your thoughts.
Who can help us with the migration plan?
Is the management team stable?
What’s the strategy driving the move?
Are local providers reliable?
Is it in the budget?
Will we net a positive return on our investment?
These questions get right to the heart of the matter and help you find out if your team is ready, able and willing to make the switch.
Where Should the Data Centers Be Located?
The physical location doesn’t matter that much. It’s more important to replicate data and applications in distinct regions for redundancy and to ensure access to your data. Where you locate or have your IT consultants locate your backups is determined by the technology and configurations that work best with your systems. In fact, if you’re paying for around-the-clock monitoring, location becomes irrelevant.
Why Are You Thinking About Moving to the Cloud?
This question is a bit outmoded. A better question would be, “Why wouldn’t you move to the cloud?” That’s a question most companies have or are asking themselves right now. Cloud systems scale easily and they’re cheaper than the cost of maintaining your own local data centers. In the cloud, critical processes, such as data replication or disaster recovery are more straightforward.
Cloud services also offer a pay-as-you-go model that fits the budget of more practices and startups. While data security used to be considered a risk on the cloud, new technology has helped ensure the security of your systems and client data.
How Can You Get There?
Vet out an experienced healthcare IT provider that’s handled multiple cloud implementations and integrations. Reputable providers should be able to share their own cloud models, provide references, and ensure that you start and end with a reasonable budget.
Scalability is key in the cloud. It’s one of the major benefits, so make sure your organization is in a position to leverage it. With the right cloud set up, scaling up your user base should be easy and hassle-free. The documentation your IT consulting provides should include detailed plans regarding the tools and features needed for HITECH and HIPAA requirements. With a clear, comprehensive implementation plan, you can minimize downtime and disruptions while you move your data and applications to the cloud.
Brian Gray, MCP, is the President at Kraft Technology Group, LLC (KTG), an affiliate of KraftCPAs PLLC. Within his role, Brian is responsible for all aspects of service delivery to our clients. Brian has a decade of experience working for managed service providers. He has worked with clients in a variety of industries, including financial services, accounting, legal, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.